Bay Leaves (Laurel)

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
May 12, 2010
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
The dried leaves of the evergreen Sweet Bay Laurel tree or shrub are used in the food industry and are usually referred to as Bay Leaves. This branch of the Laurel family is not to be confused with Bay tree from which Bay Blue is distilled. The word Laurel is often used to refer to the edible variety of this plant species.

The Bay Laurel tree is indigenous to the Mediterranean area and is cultivated in Greece, Turkey, Asia Minor, Spain, Portugal and Guatemala. The Turkish leaves bring the highest price and have the most delicate flavor.

The leaves range from one inch to more than 3 inches. Much of their bright green color is from drying,

Bay leaves are among the world's oldest sources of flavoring. The fragrant leaves were used by the early Greeks and Romans to make Laurel Wreaths for crowing heroes.

Bay leaves are usually sold whole but may be cracked before being used in cooking and pickling. They are indispensable in making pickles and vinegar. They import a distinctive flavor to meats, especially lamb, potatoes, stews, soups, sauces and fish. They are a chef's favorite the world over.

Bay leaf is called the salt buster. Add bay leaf to any recipe and you can cut down on the amount of salt needed. The bay rounds out the flavor of many foods. It helps you digest food, too.

You can grow you own bay tree. Buy a potted specimen at your local garden store. It thrives outdoors in the spring and summer. Bring in house in the late fall and you will have fresh bay to use all year.

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!